Up, up and away – how to take your CX Dream Team from Suicide Squad to Avengers
As customer experience progresses as an increasingly vital priority of the modern-day business, Jason Mallia walks through the essential components of a villain-busting, organisation-saving CX team.
There is something to be learned from the recent spate of comic-book-generated superhero movie franchises where various crews of fantastically powered characters team up to make good all that is bad in the world.
Building a successful customer experience (CX) team can be just like assembling a successful superhero squad – hopefully minus the spandex and capes – with both needing to get the balance right if they are going to triumph in the end.
Let’s face it, there is no point having four superheroes with the power of invisibility if no one has the ability to fly.
Likewise, four professionals with exactly the same CX skills won’t get the outcome your company is after, as they will just be stepping on each other’s toes – fortunately a rather less painful outcome than the potential damage caused by blundering superheroes.
For a powerful CX team to thrive, the people within it need to complement each other – someone who is analytical, someone who is strategic, an excellent communicator and perhaps someone who can foster relationships up, down and across your organisation.
This carefully assembled team, where everyone has their own strengths, will be able to deal with all the different elements covered by CX, empowering your company to provide a well-rounded and highly effective CX program.
Of course, if your budget is more Ant-Man than Batman and doesn’t stretch to a full team – don’t panic!
One or two people with the right blend of skills can also do the job well with assistance from other teams to help fill any gaps.
Creating a CX ‘Dream Team
Instead of being laser-focused on individual traits, it can be more productive to hire with a real ‘team dynamic’ in mind, bringing together people who complement one another and serve different strategic purposes.
The rock underpinning every CX Dream Team is the Analyst. This person lives and breathes numbers and is crucial in backing up your mission with hard statistics that are bound to impress your C-suite executives and guarantee that the results are valid and robust. In order to demonstrate the value of investing in a CX program, the Analyst needs to be able to identify and analyse the right kind of data to demonstrate the ability to impact key business objectives. They should be able to pinpoint an ROI model that will directly link to a company’s business priorities, which is ultimately what the C-suite is going to want – and need – to give their blessing.
The Analyst is responsible for delivering, highlighting and sharing key data that pinpoints ‘Net Promoter Score’ (NPS), ‘Net Easy Score’ (NES) and other CX metrics on a regular basis. In addition, they should break down these scores and be able to explain how and why they are going up, down or staying the same. Knowing where these numbers are at all times and having an explanation as to why they might be changing is the foundation for your team’s ability to making beneficial changes to the business.
However, the huge expectations from CX programs means that throwing around CX metrics isn’t enough in the longer term. Your analyst needs to be able to prove the linkage between your CX activities and hard financial data. Higher NPS and fewer complaints are nice. But not as nice as higher revenue and lower costs.
Lastly, it is important that the Analyst knows how to collaborate. He or she will need to work closely with the ‘CX Evangelist’ to create a CX team that gets the C-suite’s attention. When the numbers aren’t looking as good as planned, the CX Evangelist becomes the Analyst’s right hand, to add more colour, context and insights to the data. The pair should collaborate to identify areas for improvement and, ultimately, tell the most well-rounded story.
The CX Evangelist
This team member will be critical in selling your CX program across the organisation. Passionate and articulate, this person has a strong pulse on who needs to be influenced and convinced that CX is worth investing in.
To be successful in this role, the CX Evangelist must be a real storyteller. CX initiatives are usually under pressure to prove ROI, and often face increased budgetary pressure if they want to grow or even maintain their efforts. If solid ROI is not readily available (though your analyst should be on the case to ensure it is), the key to getting the C-suite on board is telling a compelling story. This is where the Evangelist role comes into play, to augment quantitative reports by incorporating a storytelling approach.
They should be a bit of an extrovert and a natural at developing rapport and strong relationships with stakeholders across the organisation. By understanding what other departments need and want from a CX program, the CX Evangelist can leverage their passion and aptitude and make it happen.
The Design Thinker
The next critical member of the CX Dream Team is the Design Thinker. By having a high-level, strategic thinker on your team, you can stay one-step ahead to make sure your program produces real results. This is more than just designing great surveys (though this is important). It is about creative thinking and finding innovative ways to address business challenges.
The Design Thinker needs to understand what a great experience looks like. Firstly, regarding the overall CX program, from surveys to driving change to closing the loop with customers. But beyond that, they need to be able to recognise, understand and create slick customer experiences that exceed expectations. Finally, they need to be able to communicate results. Not necessarily in big company presentations (you have other team members for that) but to be able to take the data from the Analyst and ensure it is presented in a compelling way.
On the survey front, the Design Thinker should keep the respondents in mind. They should ask themselves: who is the target audience? What would get their attention? What would keep their attention? The Design Thinker should be well-versed in the latest trends such as using audio and video in surveys and knowing when and how to encourage customers to provide feedback. Note that this does not mean providing gift cards or entry to competitions. It is about making sure people understand why you’re asking for feedback and what you plan to do with it.
Your CX Dream Team won’t be able to design and implement those experiences themselves, so you need the final member of your team.
This is your business-savvy team member who gets things done. This person has elements of the other three team players but wraps solid CX expertise in real business acumen. They understand what delivers results and how to make that happen. This is vital in ensuring all the great CX ideals and ideas are translated into action.
Often this person will have an operational background which provides them with a clear understanding of why change is often so difficult. In many cases, CX teams can be frustrated by pushback from different departments who just don’t seem to understand the importance of streamlining processes or adjusting workflows to improve CX. The Entrepreneur understands the issues, can pre-empt objections and speak the language of the wider business to gain buy-in and seek suitable alternatives.
Teamed with the Design Thinker’s creativity, this results-orientated team member will ensure that change is delivered – giving your Evangelist more to shout about!
As companies continue to legitimise the need for CX within organisations, teams will start putting more and more emphasis on the specific players they need in place to be successful. This will see CX teams become less of a silo and more willing to engage across the wider company.
With the right blend of skills, approaches and experience, no Joker will be able to stop the CX Dream Team.